Sarah Louise Atkinson, Super Bowl 50 Superwoman
On February 7th, 2016, the National Football League will administer Super Bowl 50, the golden anniversary of the most-watched sporting event in the United States, here at Santa Clara’s Levi Stadium. Among the many behind-the-scenes contributors to the Super Bowl 50 is one USF alumna, Sarah Louise Atkinson, who is now hard at work as the event and operations manager for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee.
Since her appointment on the Committee in 2014, Atkinson has experienced many important sporting events, including Levi Stadium’s grand opening and the Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix. Yet she states that “the true highlight for me has been working beside the industry professionals on our staff—this is a truly incredible team. I have learned so much.”
Working with fellow industry professionals on the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee as a learning process that has enabled Atkinson to push forward into new aspects of her management career. In particular, her focus lies now with venue procurement for every official Super Bowl related event in the Bay Area, as well as the administration of Super Bowl City, the public fan village provided in partnership with NFL Experience. Atkinson reports that her everyday tasks change often and are full of variety, including but not limited to “internal meetings with our events team, connecting with other departments where there is crossover, site tours, venue research, helping events find venues that fit their needs, programming [and] operations”.
This full-bodied, determined approach developed for Atkinson during her time as a USF student in the Sport Management program. After first taking on mandatory career projects in her freshman semester she aggressively sought out sports business experts to further her knowledge and form new networking connections within her career field. In particular, she advocates the importance of “informational interviews with anyone you can think of. People will take the time to speak with you while you are a student.” Gaining wisdom from a wide spectrum of sources has proven particularly useful to Atkinson, who must wear many proverbial hats to see the Super Bowl’s return to northern California to success.
After pushing forward relentlessly to ensure the Super Bowl 50’s success, Atkinson and her husband will finally take their long awaited honeymoon this coming February, postponed for months due to the demanding nature of events. Still, in the long run, the wait has been well worth it; with a vibrant career taking off, Atkinson looks forward to managing events in the Bay Area for years to come.